LIN Chiwei was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1971. He graduated from the Department of French, Fu Jen Catholic University in 1994. The artist studied at the National Institute of the Arts and the Le Fresnoy National Studio of Contemporary Arts from 1998 to 2002, and developed a unique artistic approach which incorporates traditional art, folk research and new media art. Lin founded the Zero and Sound Liberation Organization（Z.S.L.O）with fellow Taiwanese student Liu Xing-Yi and Hong Kong student Steve in 1992. He was devoted to independent theatre and underground music then, and cared much about social movements. In 1995, he organized the Broken Life Festival and the Post-Industrial Arts Festival with WU Zhong-Wei. The Post-Industrial Arts Festival brought the country’s underground culture to the full by having a huge number of underground groups and international artists perform on stage. The festival includes performances by musical bands, independent theatre performances, film screenings, installation art, fire dance, industrial music, S/M sessions, experimental cinema, DIY workshops and anarchy forums. Cross-disciplinary and avant-garde, it challenged the mainstream audience with its unconventional shows.
Lin is a pioneering sound artist and an important alternative cultural figure of the 90s in Taiwan. He started to develop the Tape Music series in 2004, which features manually-generated mechanical music. The resulting music differs according to the participating viewer/listener and the exhibition space. For characteristics as such, his work resembles some kind of a social measurement. Lin released a video installation entitled Kafka Machine in 2007, and displayed his other voice installations in China and UK. Since that year, Tape Music has also continued to be exhibited in Beijing, Paris, Shenzhen, Tainan, Venice, Berlin, London, Bangkok and many other places. The artist took part in the Shanghai Biennale and the Bi-City（Hong Kong / Shenzhen）Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture in 2012, and exhibited his work at the Tate Modern in London. In the same year, Lin released a book entitled Beyond Sound Art: The Avant Garde, Sound Machines, and the Modernity of Hearing.
Shenzhen-Social Measurement through Sound 2009 is a project based on LIN Chiwei’s “tape music.” A long tape written all over with consonant characters plays a central role in each of the performances, and the participating audience can decide what sounds the tape shall make. At the start of a show, the audience members are asked to sit in a spiral circle. A tape is then passed down from the outside to the inside of the circle to the people, who should then pronounce one consonant according to what’s written on the tape. The sounds of people eventually form an organic, humming symphony.
As different participants react to the circumstances differently, even with the same tape, the resulting sounds are going to be fairly different. Some audience members, of course, would refuse to join along. Some others could also mispronounce the consonants or make strange noises. To the artist, however, no matter the participants make the sounds accordingly or not, they are important contributors to this work of art. Such is the artist’s social measurement through sound and his study of “sameness” and “individuality.”
Shenzhen-Social Measurement through Sound 2009 also includes the tape music performances carried out in Shenzhen, China in 2009. Nine local organizations were invited to take part, including Tong Hua Culture and Communications, Nansui Hakka Folksong Choir, Nanyuan Cantonese Opera Society, Shenzhen Christian United Choir, Tomiyama Tech Limited Folk Orchestra, Shenzhen Middle School Symphonic Band, Shenzhen Central Park West African Drum Band, Lianhua North Neighborhood Waist Drum Troupe, and Shenzhen City Government Security. The artist selected video and audio records of six of the participating groups to make this six-channel installation on display.
Taiwan in the 1990s went through drastic political changes. In response to the Wild Lily Student Movement, the government renounced the “Temporary Provisions Effective during the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion” and a parliament "occupied by its non-retiring members. Gender, labor, ecology and independence movements also emerged as old ideologies were being overthrown. Democracy in Taiwan furthered, with the younger generation reflecting upon all social norms and living conditions and giving constructive criticism. Introspections as such encouraged artists of the time to rebel against existing systems and values.
Under such circumstances, LIN Chiwei’s sound art was born. The artist already participated in plenty of underground musical groups and activities in student years. He founded the Zero and Sound Retarded Monster（later renamed to be Zero and Sound Liberation Organization（Z.S.L.O）） to experiment all potential sound expressions and to liberate the body and the sound confined by society and conventions. Tape Music which he has worked on for the longest time continues to invite different groups to take part in his interactive performances held in various different places. His social measurement through sound is one that poses the essential question of “why making a sound?”
|Chinese title：||深圳－聲音社會測量 2009|
|English title：||Shenzhen-Social Measurement through Sound 2009|
|Medium / Classification：||New Media and Video|
|Collection Unit：||Courtesy of the artist|
|Contact method for authorization：||
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1971-1980|